Body Dysmorphic Disorder
In 1866, a researcher named Morselli first documented the disorder which had an initial term “dysmorphophobia”. In 1987, it was recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a disorder
Since then “dysmorphophobia” was later changed to “body dysmorphic disorder” for the reason that the former has something to do with the phobia of people which does not fit to the real definition that is the hesitance to mingle socially to people with unsatisfying body image. Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental illness wherein a person complains of a defect in either one feature or several aspects of their physical characteristics which causes clinically significant agony or destroys occupational and social roles.
Common Symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder
The neurotic concept about the identified image defect is a major characteristic of perfectionism. In order to achieve the ideal body, they submit themselves in plastic surgery, excessive use of moisturizers, beauty embellishments and other cosmetic products. This behavior releases them from tension and anxiety. They have major depressive disorder manifestations, social phobia, suicidal intention, panic attacks, and persistent low self-concept; strong feeling of shame and dissatisfaction, avoidant personality, dependence on others like friends or family, incapability to put concentration in work because of obsession of appearance. Body dysmorphic disorder patient has the habit of applying make-up every day, checking oneself in mirrors or in other reflective surface. They have also problems in initiating or sustaining intimate relationships and friendships. Body dysmorphic disorder has common compulsive behaviors like obsessive skin touching, excessive dieting or exercising, comparing appearances to others, and rapacious reading of books, newspaper articles and websites that has something to do with beauty and physical defects. In acute cases, obsession to cosmetic surgery and other body sculpture are done despite of the psychological, emotional, social, and physical side effects of it.
The development body dysmorphic disorder usually starts in adolescence; this is the period wherein they are conscious about their physical characteristics that may affect their bearing and projection to other people. It has no single cause and a lot of researches show that a numerous factors may be considered in the advancement body dysmorphic disorder. Compulsive overeating, anorexia nervosa or bulimia can be associated to this disorder. Though it can be more of a phobia but its manifestation is too specific to be compared with social phobia or social anxiety disorder. Social media may also affect the personality of teenagers especially in the perception of perfect body and ideal beauty.
In a study of fifty four body dysmorphic disorder patients, who underwent cognitive behavior therapy, has proven effective. They were randomly selected to cognitive behavior therapy or no medication and it was found out that those who underwent cognitive behavior therapy decreased the body dysmorphic disorder symptoms significantly. It was believed that the low levels of serotonin in the brain may cause this disorder therefore the intake of SSRI drugs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may stabilize the levels of serotonin in the brain. Like in other personality disorder, a combined approach of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and antidepressants is said to be more efficient and effective. Like in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder or other major depressive disorder, it is usually prolific that the dose of a given anti-depressant exceeds the maximum standard doses.